1.1 Definition and scope of the study
A private school in France is an establishment that has not signed an agreement with the State to carry out its activity. The school does not receive any subsidy from the State and therefore charges for admission to its school, which is symbolized by a strong autonomy in the implementation of school programs and freedom in the teaching method.
Non-contractual private education is a segment of private education in France that totals just under three million students. Private non-contractual schools exist from kindergarten to high school, including primary and secondary schools. Three other segments are present, including private education under contract with the state, which is by far the largest in France, and which is often linked to Catholic education.
In 2015, there were more than a thousand schools outside of the contractual framework, one-third of which were religious in nature. The others were bilingual schools, schools using the Montessori method and schools using the Steiner method. The success rate at the baccalaureate in these fee-paying schools is higher than in public and contracted high schools (95% vs. 88%) and these entities are mainly located in the Lyon region, in Brittany, in the Hauts-de-Seine and in the Yvelines. The number of schools opened each year is increasing: from 31 schools opened in 2012 to 157 schools opened in 2018, which testifies to the dynamism of the sector in France.
1.2 The private school market in France is building on its success
For over a decade, the success of private schools outside the contract is illustrated by the opening of more and more establishments. In ****, **,*** students are enrolled in these alternative schools in primary and secondary schools, which represents barely *.*% of students enrolled.
Schooling of French students France, ****, as a % Source: ****
However, the ...
2.1 Evolution of the number of students enrolled in schools
The number of first grade students (***). Over the decade as a whole though, the number of students enrolled is overall stable.
Primary school enrollment France, ****-****, in millions Source: ****
Each year, between ***,*** and ***,*** children join the ranks of elementary classes. This is the age when parents are most likely to place ...
2.2 Non-contracted private schools as an alternative to a difficult educational path
Private schools without a contract have the advantage of being differently selective and welcoming students with difficulties or who have dropped out of school, offering them an alternative pedagogy.
In primary school, schools are chosen for their different pedagogy; Howerver, "choosing a non-contracted secondary school is often the last solution to ...
2.3 Private schools by socio-professional category
Despite the possibility of obtaining a scholarship to study in a private school (***), there is little social mix in private schools. In Paris, only *% of students from disadvantaged socio-professional categories attend private schools, whereas **% of them live in the capital.
At the national level, the situation is less extreme, as the ...
2.4 The growing success of private schools
In recent years, an increase in the number of enrollments in private schools has been observable.
According to an Ifop study conducted in May ****, **% of parents of children enrolled in public schools believe they would have a better chance of success in private schools. [***]
However, according to a survey, the majority ...
3.1 Evolution of the number of non-contracted private schools in France
In the graph below, we see the evolution of the number of private schools (***) in France in clear increase since ****. This graph is important because the new schools created are out of contract to eventually go under contract after five years of activity.
Number of private schools in France France, ****-****, ...
3.2 Bilingual and international schools
Bilingual schools are becoming more and more numerous in France, and this trend does not escape the so-called alternative and non-contract schools.
These schools offer language courses (***) in the same way as French, and welcome students from kindergarten to high school. Most of the time, the groups are small to allow ...
3.3 Non-contracted private schools of a religious nature
According to the graph below, we can see that the majority of private schools without a contract are secular schools that do not offer any kind of religious education. These schools can follow the Steiner method, Montessori or offer a bilingual education.
Nature of private schools without a contract France, ****, in ...
3.4 Focus on the Montessori and Steiner methods
Among secular schools, the distribution of schools by type is as follows:
Number of non-contract secular schools by type France, ****, in Source: ****
* : The so-called active pedagogies correspond to the Nuyts, Freinet, positive discipline methods, or the most famous, the Steiner method.
** : The specific audiences are, for example, disabled, gifted ...
3.5 Geographical distribution
The academies of Ile-de-France account for nearly **% of the non-contracted students, including **.*% in the academy of Versailles alone. [***]
As the map and table below show, **% of primary school students in private schools without contracts are in the Ile-de-France region.
Number of students in private schools without a contract by region
4.1 Typology of the offer of private non-contractual schools in France
The majority of non-contracted schools are in primary education (***).
Distribution of private schools by level France, ****, in % Source: ****
There are several types of non-contracted private schools. While some teach according to a classical pedagogy, there are other types of schools, including:
Montessori schools Steiner-Waldorf schools denominational schools regional/bilingual schools international ...
4.2 Advantages and disadvantages of non-contracted private schools
The main distinction between a private school and a public school is that the former is not free. As for the public school, it is free and the students who study there are taken care of by the State. [***]
Moreover, entry to a private school is selective: most of the time, ...
4.3 Prices for private schools without contract
In terms of price, there are several varieties linked to several criteria. In fact, private schools without a contract are companies (***) and are therefore in charge of recruiting the teachers themselves and paying their salaries, and therefore more expensive. [***]
It is possible for families to receive financial aid for the schooling ...
5.1 Regulatory framework for private schools without a contract
Contract with the State
In France, it is only after five years of operation that a private school can become "sub-contracted". At the end of this period, a school may apply but is free to remain non-contracted to teach in an alternative mode that allows it to choose its programs and ...
6.1 Segmentation of market players
- La maison des enfants
- International School of Nantes
- Institution Saint-Dominique (Association)
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